El Salvador bans fans for a year over Alianza stadium disaster

May 24 – The El Salvadorian football federation (FESFUT) has moved quickly to sanction the Alianza club after the crowd surge that crushed fans causing 12 deaths and more than 500 others needing medical attention.

The stampede at the Alianza vs Fas match at the Cuscatlán Stadium followed the opening of a gate to allow more supporters into the stadium after the game had kicked off.

In an unequivocal laying of the blame on the club, FESFUT informed Alianza via a public letter of their punishment saying:­­­­­ “The responsibility for the events that occurred at the Cuscatlán stadium during the match is attributable to Alianza as the local team and therefore the organizer of the match.”

Alianza’s sanction is to play matches behind closed doors for a full year and to pay a fine of $30,000 before July 21.

It was the second major stadium disaster this year after 135 people died in a crush following a match between fierce rivals Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya at Arema’s Kanjuruhan Stadium in Indonesia.

At the Cuscatlán Stadium the crush saw fans spill on to the pitch, and players carrying wounded fans away from the danger. The match was suspended after 15 minutes.

El Salvador’s health minister, Francisco Alabi, tweeted that the government had deployed ambulances from nearby hospitals to the stadium with the injured being sent to different public institutions for treatment.

Civil Defense Agency Director Luis Alonso Amaya said he believed too many tickets for the match had been sold. Authorities promised to launch an investigation as President Nayib Bukele described the event as “unprecedented”.

FESFUT have not waited for full investigations to be completed but instead immediately reacted to the disaster with the Alianza sanctions.

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